The curious militarization of the New Glasgow law enforcement community is rolling steadily along.
Frank readers and others with a keen eye for the ridiculous will recall that town cops got their hands on a refurbished Cougar armoured personnel carrier (oh, let’s not beat around the bushes, it’s a goddamn tank — ed.) last year, care of local boy Peter MacKay, former mini of defence/current mini of justice (Frank 659).
Now it seems the town is of the belief that it’s never too soon to start training the young’uns to bust some heads.
According to a fluff piece in the local Transcontinental-owned press, New Glasgow has something called a Youth Troop, run through the local police dept. The 13- to 18-year-olds meet regularly at the New Glasgow police station, hosted by local Constable Ken MacDonald.
Like other youth troops and duty-centric organisations, the group teaches the kids about first aid, how to survive in the zombie apocalypse wilderness, lessons on civic pride, etc.
Also included on the list of fun activities for adolescents are firearms safety, crime scene investigation and security patrolling. While some would consider that some pretty hands-on stuff for a youth troop, it’s nothing compared to the fun they get up to when they meet up with their American cousins.
The kids recently returned from a brief learn-cation in Tampa Bay, Florida, where they stayed with their American equivalent, the Explorers.
Specifically, Troop 900 of Pinellas County, run by local Sheriff Bob Gaultieri, who has gone so far with the youth troop idea that he’s set up a Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy for kids and adults looking to get in on the excitement. Five New Glasgow Youth Troopers made the trek south to check in with Troop 900 and Gaultieri, after raising the funds for the trip themselves.
There, they added to their previous skill set such things as “vehicle felony stops” and SWAT tactics and protocol. They toured a county prison and took part in the bizarrely titled “active shooter situations.”
Youth Trooper Brandon MacFarlane told the Pictou Advocate the “training” they got in America’s Sunshine State was way more “intense” than what they get in Canada’s Ocean Playground. Just what these little Judge Dreddets will be doing with their improved knowledge of SWAT procedure and weapons fire back in New Glasgow is a mystery.
For comparison, Pinellas County in suburban Tampa has a population of just under one million; Pictou County is home to just over 45,000, and dropping.
In 2012, Tampa proper (population 2.4 million) recorded 288 serious crimes per 100,000 people, including 552 murders. Although hard stats were out of reach before I went to press, I believe there were somewhat fewer than 552 murders in New Glasgow in 2012.
I’m v. curious to see what the kids from Florida’s Troop 900 will think of that when they come up for a visit.
Youth Troop leader Const. Ken did not return my calls.
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